América seemed a little disjointed at the start; although they had more possession, they were unable to do much with it. Guido Rodríguez and Richard Sánchez seemed out of sync in midfield, which led to difficulty linking up with the attack.
With Nahuel Guzmán out injured, 24-year-old Miguel Ortega made his league debut in goal for Tigres. The Águilas, though, seemed reluctant to test the young keeper. It wasn’t until the 40th minute that América had a truly dangerous chance – and they made it count.
Paul Aguilar sent the ball in towards the six-yard box; Ortega knocked it away, but the rebound fell to Richard Sánchez at the top of the box and he buried it to make it 1-0 for América.
Tigres started the second half stronger as they looked to get back into the game, and it wasn’t long before they found the equalizer. In the 51st minute, Guido Pizarro headed home a corner kick to tie it up 1-1.
Then refereeing controversy reared its head. In the 58th minute, referee Fernando Guerrero called a penalty in favor of América after Sánchez was brought down in the box. But after VAR review, he negated the call.
Then, in the 64th minute, Guerrero called a penalty for Tigres after Javier Aquino was fouled in the box, and that call stood. André-Pierre Gignac stepped up and converted the spot kick to make it 1-2 for Tigres in the 67th minute.
América pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but they still looked out of sync and were unable to do much to test Ortega in goal as Tigres held on to the lead and the first-leg advantage.
With the 1-2 win, Tigres will advance with a win or draw in Sunday’s second leg; they would move on with a 1-0 or 2-1 loss as well. As for the Águilas, they need to score at least twice in a win to move on; 2-0 would do it, but if Tigres scores, they’ll need at least three.